Thursday, February 20, 2014

Study Starter: The Death of Methuselah

Bulletin Study Starter: Sunday, February 23rd, 2014
The Death of Methuselah - By Christopher Wiles
Study Starters are ideas from my personal study that are intended to get you thinking about a Bible topic by piquing your curiosity concerning spiritual things.

The Death of Methuselah
Recently, some numbers in my morning study (from Genesis 5-7) got me doing some mental math and I found a startling discovery.  Methuselah died the year of the flood!  It seems odd that the Bible doesn’t mention that the longest man to ever live (969 years in Gen 5:27) died near the flood, and maybe even in the flood.  It also seems odd that I’ve never read a commentary about Methuselah's death, nor ever had a professor mention it, nor heard it in a sermon. How did I stumble upon the idea of Methuselah dying in/near the flood?

First, start with Genesis 7:6 which states Noah was 600 years old when the flood came.  Next, look at Noah’s father, Lamech, who was 182 years old when Noah was born (Gen 5:28).  Lamech lived a total of 595 years after Noah was born(Gen 5:30) which puts his death 5 years before the flood.  But what about Methuselah, who was Lamech’s father?

Methuselah was 187 years old when Lamech was born (Gen 5:25).  So Methuselah was 369 years old when Noah, his grandson, was born (187+182=369).  We can determine how long the flood happened after Methuselah's birth by adding 369+600 (remember, the flood was 600 years after Noah was born (Gen 7:6).  When you add 369+600, what do you get?  969 YEARS!  The flood happened 969 years after Methuselah was born, which is also how long Methuselah lived (Gen 5:27).

So that makes me ask a few questions “Did Methuselah die in the flood?”  “Was Methuselah an unrighteous man since Noah was the only one spoken of as righteous? (Gen 7:1)”  “Were Methuselah and Lamech corrupt and violent like the rest of the earth? (Gen 6:11-12)”  “Might Methuselah have broken the 1000 year mark if he had been found righteous at the flood?”

A quick Google search shows there are several theories and Jewish traditions to read on  the death of Methuselah, the oldest man to ever live.  What do you think?  What’s your theory?  May this finding encourage you to pay attention to those “boring” genealogies for they may have a story to tell all on their own!

“The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.” - Proverbs 10:27